Responding to the latest report accusing Trump of being a Russian pawn (which may at least partially have been the spawn of a 4Chan hoax), the Kremlin said on Wednesday it was "total nonsense" that Russian officials had assembled a file of compromising information on Donald Trump. Speaking to reporters on a conference call today, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the dossier containing the claims was a hoax which had been dreamt up to further harm U.S.-Russia relations, which are already at their lowest level since the Cold War.
Peskov told reporters that Russia had no “kompromat” – a term for ‘compromising material’ - on Trump, as claimed in an unsourced report widely shared among the highest levels of US government, and which had been distributed months ago, and also available to the Clinton campaign.
“The information is not true and is nothing other than a total fabrication,” Peskov said, according to Interfax. “It’s a complete fake, it’s a complete fabrication, it’s total nonsense.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov
"It is an attempt to damage our bilateral relations. It is pulp fiction," said Peskov, who according to Reuters also roundly dismissed as false assertions in the dossier that he himself was heavily involved in running a Russian campaign to undermine defeated presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. "You have to react to this with a certain humor, but there's also a sad side to this. Hysteria is being whipped up to maintain a political witch hunt."
Peskov added that the Kremlin does not engage in compiling compromising dossiers on anyone and was focused on building relations with Russia's foreign partners instead. Putin's spokesman also said the Kremlin also did not have a dossier on Hillary Clinton.
“The Kremlin does not collect kompromat. The Kremlin and the president of [Russia] establish relations with our foreign partners: first of all, in the interests of the Russian Federation and the Russian people, and secondly, in the interests of global peace, stability, and security,” he said.
“It’s an obvious attempt to harm our bilateral relations,” he added. “Fabricating these ‘fakes’ and the quality of the declassified part of the previous report [on alleged Russian meddling in the US election] and this ‘fake’ – when put together, they’re pulp fiction. Of course, you also need to react to this with a certain amount of humor, although there’s a sad side to it.”
Russia's response conforms with Trump's angry outburst on Twitter last night, when in a tweet on Tuesday evening, the president-elect likewise dismissed the reports that Russia had compromising information on him. "FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!" he wrote on Twitter.
Peskov echoed Trump’s response. “There are definitely people who incite this hysteria, who go out of their way to support this witch hunt. That’s how president-elect Trump defined this latest fake – as the continuation of a witch hunt.”
On a separate matter, asked to respond to the prospect of new U.S. sanctions affecting Russia's oil and gas sector, Peskov said such measures, if they happened, would damage Russia, bilateral ties, and the global economy. The Russian energy sector would definitely get compensation if such sanctions were imposed, he added.
Peskov also said Putin was unfazed by reports that Trump's pick for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, would say at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday that Russia posed a danger, which previously was praised Tillerson, who has experience of working with top Russian officials in the oil sector. Peskov said the Kremlin stood by its assessment of Tillerson as someone who was willing to listen and was constructive, but was aware he was likely to be a tough operator too.
"We understand that Tillerson will continue to be quite tough in pursuing his line," said Peskov, saying the Kremlin was not wearing rose-tinted glasses when it came to the former U.S. oilman.